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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Dec 01, 2015 3 comments

Stereo Cubes Speaker
Performance
Build Quality
Value
One S Speaker
Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $2,944 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Intuitive, easy-to-use app
Classy, minimalist cosmetics
Supports up to 192-kHz/24-bit files
Minus
No Bluetooth or AirPlay
Only four currently supported online music services
No subwoofer outputs

THE VERDICT
The Raumfeld system’s excellent-sounding active/passive speakers, ability to handle hi-res audio, and very intuitive app make it a top-notch competitor and a standout in a category that’s spawning a plethora of me-too Sonos imitators.

It’s mandatory at the beginning of any wireless streaming audio system review to mention Sonos. The company is a Goliath that launched the category more than a decade ago and now dominates it. The reason is simple: Sonos gear sounds good, is reliable, and is about as easy to use as it gets. That doesn’t mean, of course, that Sonos is perfection incarnate, nor is it totally without flaws. (There are chinks in every suit of armor.) But you do have to feel at least a modicum of pity for any manufacturer that decides to pick up a slingshot and take aim at the Sonos colossus.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Nov 05, 2015 0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,600 each, $14,400 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Tool-free twist-lock mounting
10-inch woofer fits an 8-inch cutout
Aimable tweeter and midrange
Minus
Requires 7.5 inches of mounting depth
Wants lots of power
Raised soundstage

THE VERDICT
No in-ceiling architectural speaker is perfect, but the D108 comes stunningly, spectacularly close.

Love him, hate him, or simply wonder what’s up with all the tattoos, there’s no denying the fact that Jeremy Burkhardt is one of those distinct personalities who has had a profound effect on the custom audio/video industry. Then again, he may be someone you’ve never heard of, unless you’re in the custom installation business. Unlike other notables—such as Polk, Carver, and Bose—Burkhardt isn’t the name of a speaker brand. Nevertheless, if you’ve listened to a set of in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, especially one of the bazillion or more models SpeakerCraft has produced over the past 25 years (including tons built for other brands), you’ve felt—or, rather, heard—Burkhardt’s influence on architectural audio.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 22, 2015 1 comments
I heard what seemed like hundreds of vendor pitches and saw thousands of new products at CEDIA EXPO 2015 before it closed on Saturday, October 17th. Here are some of the coolest things we didn't cover previously in our (should have been) award-winning CEDIA blog...
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 17, 2015 0 comments
You may not have heard of the networking component-making company, Edimax, but that’s to be expected because the majority of what the company has made in the past has been targeted at commercial use or has been sold under other companies’ brand names. Edimax is starting to bring more of its own branded devices to the market, one of which will be the new SP-2110W, a very small Wi-Fi smart outlet switch with power metering capabilities. Of course, Wi-Fi-based smart outlet switches aren’t a new concept. Edimax’s SP-2110W, however, is one of the smallest such switches that I’ve seen so far. Its rounded, shallow design is much preferable to the standard wall wart-style of most smart switches available from other companies today. The SP-2110W is controlled by Edimax’s app and is capable of email push notifications of on/off status, as well as real-time power-usage statistics. MSRP is expected to be under $30 with availability in early 2016.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 17, 2015 0 comments
One of the things I dislike about most dedicated multiroom wireless music systems (i.e., Sonos, HEOS, Bluesound, etc) is that the only way to control them is through an app on a smart device, unless you’ve integrated the components into a larger whole-home control system, such as Control 4. Nuvo aims to eliminate that annoying lack of tactile control with its new P10 Keypad, a wall-mounted keypad utilizing Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), that provides “quick access to the system’s basic functions, including volume/mute, play/pause, next/previous track navigation, as well as a “Favorites” button that allows the user to quickly scroll through up to five of their preset favorites at the preferred volume.” The Nuvo P10 will be available in three choices of finishes (white, light almond, and nickel) and is expected to begin shipping in November. Pricing was announced.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 17, 2015 0 comments
Control4 announced the release of the company’s latest software release, OS 2.8, during EXPO. As part of this release, updated Control4 HC-250 and HC-800 controllers will add native integration of three additional audio streaming services—Pandora, Deezer, and TIDAL—to the three that were already a native part of the Control4 OS (Rhapsody, Napster, and TuneIn). OS 2.8 also sports a new My Movies and My Music screen that offers a grid-view for showcasing high-res cover art or a Details View for presenting metadata.

Control4’s OS 2.8 update involves more than adding a few streaming services and a new interface for My Movies and My Music, though. The new OS includes...

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 16, 2015 1 comments
Beale Street Audio’s Sonic Vortex technology is the secret sauce behind—actually, inside—the company’s in-ceiling speakers. Sonic Vortex technology turns the speaker’s integrated back box into “a compact, integrated, tuned cabinet that offers a ‘twist’ on Ported Transmission Line design by optimizing air movement” to produce stronger, deeper bass response more efficiently.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 16, 2015 1 comments
Polish home automation company, Fibar Group, is wiping up the competition in gesture control devices with the introduction of the Fibaro SWIPE.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 16, 2015 1 comments
If you hate the way AC outlet and light switch wall plates look, Canadian design company, BOCCI, can change your outlook on outlets with its series of in-wall mounting plates.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 15, 2015 2 comments
The PlayBox isn’t hard to understand. It’s an enclosure (a.k.a., a box) that allows you to mount a Sonos PLAY:1 speaker in a recessed niche in a wall.

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